Saturday, October 30, 2021

ARC Review: Her Soul for Revenge by Harley Laroux

Title: Her Soul for Revenge (Souls Trilogy #2)
Author: Harley Laroux
Publication Date: October 30, 2021
Publisher: Self Published
Pages: 461
Add to Goodreads
Review for book 1

//I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review//

After a cult tried to sacrifice me to their wicked God, I went on the run, doing whatever was necessary to survive. Until a demon offered me a deal: give him my soul and he'll help me claim the vengeance I seek. Blood will be spilled, and the monsters I once ran from will soon be running from me. But damning my soul was just the beginning - it's my heart the demon wants next.

I've been hunting souls for centuries, but she's the ultimate prize - vicious and feral, with a broken soul as dark as my own. I thought claiming her would be a simple game, but Juniper is far from simple. I chose to follow her on a path drenched with the blood of her enemies, but it's our blood that may be spilled next. As an ancient God wakes from Its slumber, neither of us may survive.

Her Soul for Revenge is book 2 in the Souls Trilogy. Although all the books are interconnected, they are stand-alone and can be read in any order.

Recently I reviewed Her Soul to Take, cementing its place on my blog as a favorite of 2021. I adored Leon and Rae so much, but I was also really curious to learn more about Juniper, the sacrifice who got away, and her demon Zane. Thank goodness, I was approved for an ARC and got to jump into this story even sooner than expected!

Her Soul for Revenge is a parallel story to Her Soul To Take, showing the same events from Juniper and Zane's point of view. Although I was wondering exactly how this would work, I loved every second of it! I loved seeing bits and pieces of Leon and Rae's relationship from another perspective! Even more than that, Juniper was the protagonist I've always hoped for! She was an absolute badass who just needed a bit of help from a demon to get her revenge. 

The romance was just as good as book one, while being completely different. I loved these two extremely independent, ruthless characters going all soft and mushy for each other. And of course the spice was FIRE! Harley Laroux consistently puts out some of the best spice I've ever read.

One of my favorite parts of Her Soul for Revenge was getting more insight about Hell and the mythology surrounding the Deep One. I am here for Lovecraftian horror and the blending of the creepy, dread-inducing monsters with such a fantastic romance is everything I've ever wanted in a dark romance. The ending was perfect and I loved the brief discussion of mental health and the importance of therapy. 

I know that book three is about Everly and Callum and I absolutely cannot wait to read it! If you're a fan of dark romance and horror, you definitely need to check this series out! It's available today, so you don't even have to wait. But PLEASE check the trigger warnings! It isn't for the faint of heart. 

Thursday, October 28, 2021

My favorite (and least favorite) spinoffs

Every time I see a new spinoff announced, I get a little bit worried that they won't live up to the original series. Today I'm sharing some I loved, some I didn't, and a few I still want to read! 


Believe me when I tell you I LOVED The Selection series and was so hyped for The Heir to release! Imagine my disappointment when America and Maxon's kid was insufferable.

Ah yes, another series I was absolutely obsessed with. I rushed out on release day to buy a copy of Noah Shaw and was extremely sad when I couldn't even bring myself to finish it.


After the disappointment of The Heir and The Becoming of Noah Shaw, I was skeptical of The Midnight Lie. Thankfully, it ended up being one of my favorite reads of 2020! The sequel wasn't perfect, but only because I wanted more of it.


I haven't gotten around to reading A Shadow in the Ember only because I still need to finish A Crown of Gilded Bones! I've heard amazing things about it though and I definitely want more from this world! (Also I just noticed the leaves are identically placed on the covers).

What spinoffs have you loved or hated?
Which would you love to see written?
Let me know in the comments!

Monday, October 25, 2021

Book Review: The XY by Virginia Bergin

Title: The XY
Author: Virginia Bergin
Publication Date: November 6, 2018
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Pages: 352
Add to Goodreads

Sixty years ago, a virus wiped out almost all men on Earth. Now women run the world, and men are kept in repopulation facilties, safe from the deadly virus. At least, that's what everyone has been led to believe…until River discovers a young man on a country road—injured but alive. Mason has been outside for five days since escaping from his facility, and no one can understand how he has survived. Hiding the boy violates the rules of their world, but as the women of the town band together to try to save him, River begins to suspect that the truth behind Mason's existence is darker than she could have imagined. 

Unfortunately, I was very underwhelmed by this book. I don’t give low ratings often, but this was a 2.5 star read for me.

This book is about River, a teenage girl growing up in a world completely run by women. Two generations before River, there was a virus that, for some reason, was a threat to the male population but not to the female population. For some reason, the virus killed males but it laid dormant in females. Since males are needed to continue the population, all boys and men were sent to secure and sterilized facilities, called sanctuaries, where they could live free of the virus. When a male is born, he is immediately taken from his mother and taken to the nearest sanctuary. She doesn’t even get to hold him. Most of those who remember the “once-was”, as River calls it, are hoping for the day when males can reenter society. Those who came after the once-was, like River and her mother, grew up being taught that men were nothing but bad. This book and their lessons were full of blatant misandry which could have been forgiven had there been redeeming qualities towards the conclusion of the story. In my opinion, there weren’t.


This is a quote from the book, one that is repeated throughout at least the first half of it. Males were taught to fear females and vice versa. The boys in sanctuaries were brought up believing that all women were she-wolves and she-devils who only wanted to rape and kill them. Considering they were brought up in enclosed areas where their usefulness to society was fully dependent on the sperm they produced, I cannot blame them for feeling that way. However, the girls in the outside world were also brought up to believe that men were evil.

When River runs into a sick XY in the woods, she loads him up in a cart and takes him home because according to the rules of their society, you must help everyone. Her grandmother, Kate, is the only one in the house equipped to deal with an XY because she was from the once-was. She was the only one throughout this book that consistently treated mason like a human being.

Males were completely dehumanized for most of this book. For about the first 60% to 75% of the book, both River and her mother must keep being reminded by Kate that Mason, the XY, is a HE, not an IT. Even though River had many conversations with Mason, she was still struggling to see him as the human being he was. While reading this book, it felt as if feminism was being defined by misandry and that is not what feminism is or should be. When misogynists argue against feminism, this is a book they could use to make their case.

Also, it’s mentioned in the book that some women became lesbians because there were no men around instead of because they were naturally attracted to women which was also just extremely offensive.

River’s world is also defined as having no war or violence as if women are always sunshine and daisies and as if we can’t commit atrocious acts of violence as well.

I had SUCH high hopes for this book and the potential it had. I thought it would be similar to The Gender Game by Bella Forrest where females ran their own country and males ran their own except neither sex would be allowed in the others’ country. I had so many questions going into this book. How did men and women survive without each other? Would it be easier to be bisexual or gay in a world where you’re surrounded by your own sex? In a world where There are no females around males and vice versa, how would transgender and nonbinary people feel; would they find it hard to fit in?

It isn’t until the very last sentence of the book when River fully realizes that Mason isn’t an “it” and that he isn’t just a boy, but that he’s a person. I don’t say this often but I actually regret purchasing this book and supporting such misandry and discriminative drivel. I’m the first to laugh at a good “men ain’t shit” joke, but I also know that there are some REALLY good men in the world; too good for this book to have been published. I have another Bergin book on my shelf, H2O, and I’m not sure now if I’ll be able to bring myself to read it. 

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Weekly Recap: 10/3 - 10/23


Hi, everyone! Once again, not a weekly recap, but I made it back sooner than last time! I've been down the fanfiction rabbit hole and nothing else matters. Currently I'm also watching season 3 of You and absolutely loving every second of it. I haven't started Squid Game yet, but that's soon! This week I'll be watching as many spooky movies as I possibly can in anticipation of Halloween! Anyone else?





Book review of Her Soul to Take
I revisited my 2020 TBR
Audiobook review of The Hollow Heart
Book review of The Favorite Daughter


I'm linking up to Stacking the Shelves & The Sunday Post!
Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Book Review: The Favorite Daughter by Kaira Rouda

Title: The Favorite Daughter
Author: Kaira Rouda
Publication Date: May 21, 2019
Publisher: Graydon House
Pages: 368
Add to Goodreads

From the author of the page-turning domestic suspense Best Day Ever, comes another gripping novel of psychological suspense set in an upscale Southern California community, for fans of B.A. Paris and Shari Lapena.

The perfect home. The perfect family. The perfect lie.

Jane Harris lives in a sparkling home in an oceanfront gated community in Orange County. It’s a place that seems too beautiful to be touched by sadness. But exactly one year ago, Jane’s oldest daughter, Mary, died in a tragic accident and Jane has been grief-stricken ever since. Lost in a haze of anti-depressants, she’s barely even left the house. Now that’s all about to change.

It’s time for Jane to reclaim her life and her family. Jane’s husband, David, has planned a memorial service for Mary and three days later, their youngest daughter, Betsy, graduates high school. Yet as Jane reemerges into the world, it’s clear her family has changed without her. Her husband has been working long days—and nights—at the office. Her daughter seems distant, even secretive. And her beloved Mary was always such a good girl—dutiful and loving. But does someone know more about Mary, and about her last day, than they’ve revealed?

The bonds between mothers and daughters, and husbands and wives should never be broken. But you never know how far someone will go to keep a family together… 

Have you ever read one of those books where you simultaneously hate the main character but are also rooting for them? The Favorite Daughter by Kaira Rouda was one of those books for me. It will be very hard for me, because this book was just SO good, but there will be no spoilers in this review.

This is a psychological suspense novel about Jane Harris, a woman who strives to have the perfect home, the perfect body, and the perfect family. Imperfections are not allowed in her life. One year prior to the start of the book, Jane’s oldest daughter, Mary, died in a tragic accident and ever since, Jane has been stricken with grief and struggling with her own anxieties. She grieved, went to therapy, took anti-depressants, and she cut herself off from everyone including her daughter and husband, but she decided all of that was over. She was ready to pull her life back together.

Her husband, David, planned a memorial service to celebrate Mary on the one-year anniversary of her death. Three days following the memorial service, Betsy, an amazing artist, would be graduating high school and going to a local community college which made Jane very happy. Keeping her daughter close was important to her. After the memorial, Jane noticed an anonymous letter in her purse saying there was more to Mary’s death than everyone thought and she continued receiving letters after the memorial, throwing even more chaos into Jane’s life.

Jane was ready to get her family back in line. She had to be in control, and nothing less would do. After Mary and Cash, the family dog, died, both David and Betsy distanced themselves from her. David stayed at work later and later and Betsy spent more time out with her friends, but Jane never let them get too far from her with tracking apps and the ability to read all of their sent and received text message exchanges.

This was a five star read for me! I couldn’t put this book down. The story is told strictly from Jane’s point of view and it moves at a fast pace. To her, life is a show and she is an actress who is always on stage. Every woman is jealous of her and every man is in love and flirting with her. Everything that happens in her life is by her manipulation. She is narcissistic, selfish, and manipulative yet I still somehow found myself rooting for her and her plans.

This was my first Rouda book, but it absolutely will not be my last! 

Saturday, October 9, 2021

Audiobook Review: The Hollow Heart by Marie Rutkoski

Title: The Hollow Heart (Forgotten Gods #2)
Author: Marie Rutkoski
Publication Date: September 9, 2021
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Pages: 304
Add to Goodreads
Review for book 1

Intrigue, romance, and magic abound in the heart-stopping conclusion to Marie Rutkoski’s Forgotten Gods duology.

At the end of The Midnight Lie, Nirrim offered up her heart to the God of Thieves in order to restore her people’s memories of their city’s history. The Half Kith who once lived imprisoned behind the city’s wall now realize that many among them are powerful. Meanwhile, the person Nirrim once loved most, Sid, has returned to her home country of Herran, where she must navigate the politics of being a rogue princess who has finally agreed to do her duty.

In the Herrani court, rumors begin to grow of a new threat rising across the sea, of magic unleashed on the world, and of a cruel, black-haired queen who can push false memories into your mind, so that you believe your dearest friends to be your enemies.

Sid doesn’t know that this queen is Nirrim, who seeks her revenge against a world that has wronged her. Can Sid save Nirrim from herself? Does Nirrim even want to be saved? As blood is shed and war begins, Sid and Nirrim find that it might not matter what they want…for the gods have their own plans.

Marie Rutkoski has been one of my favorite authors since my early blogging days. I've devoured every one of her books and each of them has made my favorites shelf, so I knew that The Hollow Heart would be no different! I could not wait to jump back into this world and see how Nirrim and Sid's story ended. I have to say, the audio did not disappoint (how could it with Justine Eyre narrating?), although the story wasn't quite what I was expecting. 

The Hollow Heart picks up with Sid arriving back in Herran and Nirrim leading a revolution in her own country. It seemed to divide readers, but I am firmly on the side of loving that Kestrel and Arin are in this story! I will admit that I didn't love Kestrel as a mother, but I am so glad I got to see more of how their story continued after The Winner's Kiss ended. As much as I enjoyed the fan service of seeing Sid's parents, I do wish that the two main characters of this series weren't separated for 90% of the book. 

A lot of Sid's storyline revolved around misunderstandings and miscommunication, which I usually can't stand, but I really related to her and didn't mind it quite as much as I usually would. In The Midnight Lie it was obvious that Sid was very confident in herself, but I really liked seeing her more vulnerable side after her heartbreak. On the other hand, Nirrim was extremely difficult to connect to or root for. In fact, her character bordered on irredeemable for me, which really is a shame because I loved her in book one. 

Marie Rutkoski expanded on the world and mythology in The Hollow Heart, even including one of the forgotten gods as a POV character. It was interesting to see the magic and deities that Arin believed in confirmed as reality (although I honestly can't remember how big a part this played in the original trilogy). It makes me wish that The Winner's Trilogy had been a bit magical too! 

My main complaint is that this series should have been longer. The Hollow Heart truly felt like a second book in a series and I wish that there was going to be a book three. I know that this was always planned as a duology, but the ending is so abrupt and comes after such a brief reunion between the lead characters, that it doesn't feel completed. I desperately wanted more time with Nirrim and Sid together and to see how they worked through all that happened while they were apart.

This book wasn't exactly what I was hoping for, but I still enjoyed the time I spent in this world. I'm not sure if Rutkoski has plans to write more in this world, but I would definitely love to see more of these characters in the future! 

Friday, October 8, 2021

2020 TBR Revisited

As I recently discussed, I am a terrible mood reader. For this reason, I almost never follow my TBR, but I still make them for Top Ten Tuesday posts four times per year. I thought it would be fun to look back at my lists for 2020 and see how many books I actually got around to reading!

12 out of 36. Oof. (Note: Since I made this graphic I did start and DNF Addie LaRue.)

Of the books I read, most were sequels or series enders. The new-to-me books that I picked up were The Project by Courtney Summers, A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown, The Hollow Places by T. Kingfisher, and When No One is Watching by Alyssa Cole. My favorites of the twelve were The Fires of Vengeance by Evan Winter and The Empire of Gold by S.A. Chakraborty, both highly anticipated sequels. 

Despite not having read them, I do own seventeen additional books on this list. I may need to go on a buying ban, to be honest. Maybe I'll actually get around to reading them in the year to come!

Do you stick to TBR lists?
Have you read any of these?
Let me know in the comments!

Thursday, October 7, 2021

Book Review: Her Soul to Take by Harley Laroux

Title: Her Soul to Take (Souls Trilogy #1)
Author: Harley Laroux
Publication Date: April 10, 2021
Publisher: Self Published
Pages: 459
Add to Goodreads


I earned my reputation among magicians for a reason: one wrong move and you're dead. Killer, they called me, and killing is what I'm best at.

Except her.

The one I was supposed to take, the one I should have killed - I didn't.

The cult that once controlled me wants her, and I'm not about to lose my new toy to them.


I've always believed in the supernatural. Hunting for ghosts is my passion, but summoning a demon was never part of the plan. Monsters are roaming the woods, and something ancient - something evil - is waking up and calling my name.

I don't know who I can trust, or how deep this darkness goes.

All I know is my one shot at survival is the demon stalking me, and he doesn't just want my body - he wants my soul.

Her Soul to Take is book 1 in the Souls Trilogy. Although all the books are interconnected, they are stand-alone and can be read in any order.

Okay, I am finally reviewing this book in hopes of making everyone read it. (Okay, definitely not everyone. PLEASE check the trigger warnings on Goodreads!) To be honest, Her Soul to Take is probably not a book I ever would have picked up on my own, but when I saw it recommended by Hannah Whitten, I snatched it up immediately. 

Rae has just moved back to the tow her family is from and one of the first people she meets is Leon, who's kind of a jerk. Then she ends up accidentally summoning Leon, who happens to be a demon who's currently stalking her as his prey. Leon ends up liking Rae way much more than he should and decides he wants her soul for his own.

This isn't just romance - Leon is hunting Rae for the culty family he serves (against his will). This book is equal parts sexy and terrifying with an almost Lovecraftian mythology that I absolutely loved. These demons aren't just for the swoons, there is actual horror in Her Soul to Take and that is definitely my jam. 

I adored everything about this book! This is definitely a dark romance, though, so make sure that's your genre before picking it up. I loved the dynamic between Rae and Leon and the way their romance slowly developed throughout this very tense book. Five out of five spice, definitely not for the faint of heart!

I cannot recommend this book highly enough for dark romance readers who also like some horror in their books. Her Soul for Revenge comes out later this month and I cannot wait to get my hands on it!

Sunday, October 3, 2021

Weekly Recap: 8/15 - 10/2


Hi, everyone! I'm not even going into why I've been away. I'm back now. Hurray! I'll be sharing everything I read in the last half of August through today since I haven't done a recap since then. For once I can report that none of my dogs are actively trying to die or giving me major anxiety! Rufio did decide about a month ago that he doesn't like eating so we've had to get creative with feeding him. His vet believes he'll grow out of it after his neuter, which happens this Monday. Please cross your fingers for a quick and easy recovery!





The topic was favorite reading spots for Top Ten Tuesday
ARC review of Kingdom of the Cursed
Book review of The Family Upstairs
Book review of You
I did an eight month roundup for Saturday Screen Time
I shared my Fraterfest TBR
The topic was Fall TBR for Top Ten Tuesday



I'm linking up to Stacking the Shelves & The Sunday Post!